In Vert des Bois, the green is tactically pushed to the back. Not in a way to take it out of focus, but managing to shape it, reading as secondary yet in clear focus.
What grabs my attention immediately in Vert des Bois is the furry texture of the scent overall, in a way textural like the rough softness of velvet, tussah silk, or fur itself. I particularly draw this association to applications of jasmine and lavender, generally in combination with each other. Tauer’s incredible Le Maroc Pour Elle sits as the benchmark furry accord of rich natural ingredients without smelling like an aromatherapy shop; a jasmine-lavender-amber melange that is mercurial and a viscous pleasure when wearing. Roudnitska’s addition of fruit notes to jasmine also evoke this mood. The sweet stickiness of plum to jasmine in Diorama and the green herbal breeze echoed with melon found in Le Parfum de Therese and Diorella are found in this furry bracket too.
Photo by Tom Ford
Ford’s Vert des Bois situates itself somewhere in this green styling. However, Le Maroc Pour Elle is not a green scent, and Roudnitska’s works always seem to evoke more brown and purple than any other colour in my mind, despite featuring a green motif at the back. Vert des Bois reduces the breath of conifers found in the earlier Italian Cypress, charging this scent with a cool tuning of spices. Lentisque and other resins are to blame. An ouzo accord, for instance, which is probably just obfuscatory talk for a melange of anise, fennel seed, and licorice, works superbly in this instance, mimicking something deeply lavender-like in its cutting freshness. It is this talk of ouzo, in the same manner a vodka note may be highlighted in perfume, that conjures up not entirely smell, but an oily texture akin to a fine film clinging to the mouth. This oily crispness indirectly smells green and crunchy.
Beyond green, such anisic smells evoke a Mediterranean coastline, where the infinite blue of the sea meets tones of rust orange, sunshine and a further energetic, near-tantric dance of colour with a fast pace about them. Ergo, not entirely green, but a complex series of greens washed in a veil of dark smoke.
Considering that, it would be unfair to judge this perfume on its overall greenness, but I will hold it accountable to its ability to satisfy that labeling. As a green wood, I find this Tom Ford work to be uncharacteristically discreet, moving away from the big-balled style (much like the current attitude of his clothing), alternatively leaving them inside the trousers. There’s oomph for sure, with a pleasant grey and snow capped mossiness that alludes to chypre, yet a coolness that moves into fougere (and the similarity to L’Artisan’s Fou d’Absinthe is immediately present). As smoke builds, the woods smooth around the edges, while the tangy bittersweet aspects of plum come through. The deep dusty shading of olive (olive wood here) is present, immediately reminiscent of Duchaufour’s Sienne l’Hiver for Eau d’Italie. I find that note to be particularly good here, with enough fruitiness to bounce around the composition and pick up the floralcy of jasmine.
Despite all of my allusions to the Med, Vert des Bois is a very cool albeit faint green, which reads as something that intentionally stifles any suggestion of warmth. It’s clever stuff.
See Also: Fou d’Absinthe by L’Artisan Parfumeur; Brin de Reglisse by Hermes; Sienne L’Hiver by Eau d’Italie; and Italian Cypress by Tom Ford (discontinued).
Subjective rating: 4/5
Objective rating: 4/5